Tag Archive: Cooking

Apr 13

I Will Improvise a Kitchen Gadget In Two Point Five

Okay, so I’ve been living on my own for about a year now (when you never see your roommate except to collect their part of the rent, you’re practically living on your own).  I moved into an apartment that was being vacated by my good friend Megan when she got married.  She sold me her furniture and donated her kitchen to me, so I moved out into a fully stocked apartment.  Add on to that all of the kitchen stuff I’ve been gifted over the years, and I thought I was set.

I was not set.

Not my kitchen, but let’s face it, it totally could be. Photo credit: Don Nunn

See, I will always be thankful for not having to go out and buy all this kitchen stuff the moment I moved out.  But I will try a new recipe in a heartbeat and I am bad about not checking the instructions before I embark on dinner.  Great at ingredients and making reasonably sure they’ll be available at the Publix, terrible at reading to make sure I don’t need a food processor…or a blender…or a stand mixer…or a hand mixer…or a, well, you get the idea.

Invariably, I will buy the stuff I need, and the moment I get home, I realize:

Oh my God…these tamales have to be steamed.  I don’t own a steamer.  I don’t even own a double boiler that I could turn into a steamer.  

But I never say die!  I mean, I actually say it all the time, but I was going to have some damn tamales, which might be one of the few things I honestly miss from LA.  So, I stuffed my tamales, wrapped them in a corn husk, and improvised like a pro.  I took a large pot, put my collander on top of it so that the handles were resting on the lip of the pot, boiled the water in the pot, and allowed the collander to act as the steamer.

Now, obviously, a collander has no lid, so I had to get clever.  Or, at least a little jank and busted.  I took a mound of saran wrap and aluminum foil and kept wrapping and wrapping the collander until it had about the same heat and moisture containing capacity as a real life steamer.

I’m not going to lie:  all of this looked busted as hell.  It looked like I was trying to derive some new form of Special K.  Sadly, there are no extant pictures, but just imagine the worst looking combination of these implements.  Now put it under fluorescent lights.  Yep, I know what you’re thinking:  that must have been sex-ee.

But the thing is, no matter how bad it looked–those tamales were the absolute best.

So, I know this is kind of a banal kitchen story, but there’s a point.  Whether your improvising a bread pan out of two cake pans stacked on top of each other or you are using a whisk to combine items because your great grandmother never had a stand mixer and she made cakes just fine, thank you very much, it doesn’t matter what it looks like you’re doing.

It just matters what you’re doing.  Process matters, but product is all that counts in the end.  I mean, if that’s not a rule of life, I don’t know what is.  And all that wisdom from a jank collander.  You’re welcome.

‘Til next time,

-JMF